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The most likely candidate for the Scipio’s original owner would be some Palatinate prince. Jan’s connections to the Palatinate are hard to pin down but they certainly existed. His Scipio left its trace in the Frankenthal area in the form of Pieter Schoubroeck’s Continence of Scipio of c.1603: copper, 66 x 115 (Speyer, Historisches Museum der Pfalz, inv. #HM 36), a work which strongly suggests that the artist had seen Jan’s version of the subject.
The landscape here clearly attempts to envision the setting of New Carthage as described by Livy. To do this, Jan drew loosely upon a bay he knew well, the Bay of Naples. Other topographical elements, like the island connected to the mainland by an arched bridge, had appeared in Jan’s earlier harbor landscapes. See for instance the Harbor with the Preaching of Christ of 1598 (panel, 78 x 119, sig. & d.). Munich, Alte Pinakothek, cat. #187; Ertz 1979, #46.
Jan's particular source for his image is Livy, but the tale of Scipio is recounted in various ancient texts: Valerius Maximus, Memorable Doings and Sayings, trans. D. R. Shackleton. Loeb Classical Library. (Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press, 2000), 367; Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, trans. Frank Gardner Moore. Loeb Classical Library. (London: Heinemann & Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970), vol.7, XXVI:xlii-xl, 165-195; Polybius, The Histories, trans. W.R. Paton. Loeb Classical Library. (London: Heinemann & New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1925), X, 16-19.
According to Louisa Wood Ruby, this later painting includes Castel dell’Ovo, which seems to have been one of Jan Brueghel (I)'s preferred motifs, showing up in two of his drawings. His View of the Castel dell'Ovo with its companion in the same collection Harbor of Naples has historically been considered evidence of Jan Brueghel (I)'s activity in Naples. His earliest paintings, Christ in the Storm (Christ and Apostles on the Lake of Tiberius) (Milan) and the same subject in the collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid of 1596, Christ and the Apostles in the Tempest on the Sea of Galilee (Madrid) as well as two magnificent later paintings in Munich, this one of ca. 1603 and the Large Fish Market with Self Portrait of 1603."